The Rape Crisis Center (RCC) is partnering with nonprofit organizations throughout Southern Nevada to expand services for human trafficking victims thanks to a recently awarded grant from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), a component within the U.S. Department of Justice charged with administering the Crime Victims Fund.
The grant, totaling $670,000, will be distributed over a three-year period and will be used in conjunction with previously awarded OVC grants that fund the RCC’s Resources and Integration for Survivor Empowerment or RISE program that provides crisis response and long-term case management services to victims of all forms of human trafficking.
The expanded services include a housing program executed in partnership with St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a community of hope and healing for children and young people.
The innovative program is a victim-centric model that includes detailed assessment of the individual’s circumstance to guide housing placement.
According to Daniele Staple, executive director of The Rape Crisis Center, the housing program offers locations throughout the Las Vegas valley. Factors for placement include ease of access to service providers and employment and avoiding trauma-triggering locations such as places near unsafe individuals or the site(s) of previous exploitation activities.
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children is one of several key partners in the network of service organizations supporting the RISE clients. Others include: The Embracing Project, which provides mentoring, education programs, and case management services to minors who have been trafficked; The Shade Tree, which provides temporary shelter in a dedicated unit for female trafficking victims; and several other agencies offering shelter, medical, educational, and therapeutic services.
The RISE program, launched in early 2020, served 122 victims of human trafficking in the first year.
Of the 122 served:
- 102 were sex trafficking victims and 46 were labor trafficking victims, with some 34 clients experiencing both forms of exploitation
- The ages of the victims ranged between 13 and 71, and the average age was 26 years old
- The vast majority of the victims identify as female (93%)
Trafficking often occurs on a continuum of violence that individuals may experience throughout their lives.
As such, many clients report a long history of witnessing and experiencing violence, including:
- 59% reported being sexually abused before age 18
- 52% reported being raped before age 18
- 38% reported being raped after age 18
- 43% witnessed domestic violence between their parents
- 71% reported being in a relationship where they have been hit, kicked or physically abused by a partner or spouse with the median age of this abuse occurring at 17 years old
- In terms of ethnicity: the majority (41%) were African American; 24% Caucasian; 18% LatinX; 8% Asian/Pacific Islander.
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